Power Released Reclaimed: Six Swords and the Philistines

Power Released Reclaimed: The Story of the Philistines and Israel  Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles sharpened. The price was two-thirds of a shekel  for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads. (1 Samuel … [Read more...]

Written in the Stars: Got Faith?

Paul's Glowing Recommendation: 1 Corinthians I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from … [Read more...]

Ten of Pentacles: All is Well, All is Lost

All is Well... Or Is it? And the Lord says, “What sorrow awaits Jehoiakim, who builds his palace with forced labor. He builds injustice into its walls, for he makes his neighbors work for nothing. He does not pay them for their labor.  He says, ‘I will build a magnificent palace with huge rooms and many windows. I will panel it throughout with fragrant cedar  and paint it a lovely red.’ But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and … [Read more...]

Eight of Swords: The Kin-dom of God as Already Not Yet

The Already/Not Yet Paradox Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. (Romans 3:27-28) Here Paul makes it as clear as possible where the lines are drawn in Christian theology. We are not justified by our works, nor are we beholden to the law. We are saved through our faith and are beholden only to God's grace. … [Read more...]

Restoration or Desolation: The Five of Cups Makes a Choice

Restoration or Desolation: The Prophet Micah Speaks     I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob, I will gather the survivors of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture; it will resound with people.  The one who breaks out will go up before them; they will break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king will pass on before them, the Lord at their head. (Micah 2:12-13) In this passage the words of the prophet shift from … [Read more...]

Vanishing Like Dew: The Reversed Four of Pentacles

Vanishing Like Dew: The Charge Against Us What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?     What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud,     like the dew that goes away early. (Hosea 6:4) The prophet Hosea speaks on God's behalf as he criticized the nations of Israel and Judah for their inconstancy. Apparently their love of God is changeable and unreliable, like the morning dew which vanishes quickly. It's as though they can't focus our attention on God with any persistence … [Read more...]

The Fighting Five of Wands: What Are You Made Of?

The Five of Wands.... and Taking the Census?  Then the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying: Enroll the Levites by ancestral houses and by clans. You shall enroll every male from a month old and upward.  So Moses enrolled them according to the word of the Lord, as he was commanded.  The following were the sons of Levi, by their names: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.  These are the names of the sons of Gershon by their clans: Libni and Shimei.  The sons of Kohath by their clans: … [Read more...]

Gonna Make this Garden Grow: Micah and the Seven of Pentacles

Gonna Make this Garden Grow - Or Not You shall eat, but not be satisfied,     and there shall be a gnawing hunger within you; you shall put away, but not save,     and what you save, I will hand over to the sword.  You shall sow, but not reap;     you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;     you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine. (Micah 6:14-15) I opened my Bible this morning to this rather somber account of God's judgment against Israel. God tells the people that … [Read more...]

Greening the Dead Tree: The Queen of Pentacles Meets Ezekiel

Greening the Dead Tree: Ezekiel Speaks I will take a tender shoot from the top of a tall cedar, and I will plant it on top of Israel's highest mountain. It will become a noble cedar, sending forth its branches and producing seed. Birds of every sort will nest in it, finding shelter beneath its branches. And all the trees will know that it is I, the Lord, who cuts down the tall tree and helps the short tree to grow tall. It is who makes the green tree wither and gives new life to the dead tree. … [Read more...]

When Temples Fall: Making Sense of the Election

When Temples Fall Do We Fall Too? I write this at the end of a tumultuous week for the US, where half of us seem to be grieving, half of us rejoicing, and apparently neither side understanding where the other is coming from. I write knowing that some people will not be ready to read this. If you supported a Trump presidency, and can't figure out why everyone is so scared, you might read this to gain a little insight; but you might not. If you're in the terrified/traumatized crowd, you might … [Read more...]